Fabricio Oberto is without an NBA home, but still turns down offer from Turkish team

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Few names in the NBA demand the respect of “Fabricio Oberto,” as long as “respect” is measured in smirks, sighs, and knowing guffaws. The Argentinian big man, who played for the Washington Wizards last season, has had a tidy, victorious, and fairly unproductive career as a late-arrival to the American basketball scene. Oberto was a rookie with the Spurs at age 30, and it was in that season that he began carving out a tenure as a limited player in most respects — too slow to play consistent defense, too limited offensively to pose too much of a threat, too unathletic to be much of a presence on the boards — that still managed to get the job done.

Break down Oberto’s stats however you’d like and they still disappoint, yet his smart play, interior passing, and knack for hustle made him a starter on the title-winning Spurs in 2007. Nothing can take away that ring, even if Oberto was that starting lineup’s undeniable weak link.

Oberto has only seen two contracts in his NBA life. He signed a deal with the Spurs back in 2005, and then agreed to a one-year stint with Washington last year for a fairly minimal salary. There was a possibility that the Wizards may bring Fab back for his third NBA contract, but with their young bigs locked into place and ready to log serious minutes, his services are no longer needed there. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the market felt similarly, and Oberto’s limited skill set didn’t demand an NBA salary even in an off-season riddled with exorbitance. $20 million makes sense for Darko, after all, but for an older center with a superior career averages in rebounds, assists, and turnovers per 36 minutes as well as field goal percentage, even the league minimum was apparently too much to ask.

But hey, David Kahn can’t overpay for every center on the market.

With no offers to remain stateside, Oberto is left to sort through various overseas possibilities, but apparently none have tickled his fancy. Most recently: According to The Hoops Market, Turkish club Efes Pilsen offered Oberto a three-month deal to fill in for injured big man Miroslav Raduljica, which he declined due to its abbreviated length. Even without offers from top European teams, Oberto is still in the market for a longer (read: full-season) deal. Time isn’t on Oberto’s side, though, as basketball season is gearing up not only in the United States, but in Europe, as well.

Supposing that Oberto did indeed reject the offer from Efes Pilsen to play the waiting game on a better offer, he may soon be short on realistic long-term options. Some teams may be interested based on Oberto’s international reputation alone (he’s a valued member of the Argentine national team), but it’s not inconceivable that Fabricio could sit out a year or retire from the game for good if he doesn’t receive an offer to his liking.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.